TRI247
Search
shop
WIN a year of riding on ROUVY plus indoor cycling kit bundle
ENTER NOW

Sam Laidlow goes from COVID to IRONMAN World Champion in less than three weeks

Sam Laidlow reflects on a spectacular success on the Cote d'Azur

Staff Reporter
Last updated -
SHOP
Rouvy Logo
Ride real routes with ROUVY

Sam Laidlow produced an incredible performance to become IRONMAN World Champion on Sunday, less than three weeks after being laid low by COVID.

The 24-year-old Frenchman, who last year came so close to winning the sport’s biggest prize after leading for so long, went one better on the Cote d’Azur with a faultless performance to dominate the race.

After setting the pace on the swim, Laidlow broke away from the rest of the front pack on the bike and managed to build an insurmountable lead, keeping fast finishing two-time World Champion Patrick Lange at bay over the course of the marathon.

The victory came after a difficult year for Laidlow, with injuries and illness severely impacting his 2023 campaign. Not surprisingly, what he achieved on Sunday was taking time to sink in as he opened up about those struggles.

Advertisement

Sam Laidlow on IMWC victory

He revealed: “I keep saying it but I just don’t believe it, it’s the stuff I have dreamt of my whole life and I have just surrounded myself with some amazing people, who have got me to where I am today. I am just so so grateful.

Sam Laidlow at the IRONMAN World Championships 2023 in Nice.
[Photo Credit – Bartłomiej Zborowski, Active Images for IRONMAN]

“It has been a rocky season, with injury and having COVID-19 two-and-a-half weeks ago. Sometimes it happens when you least expect it and I think I came here fresher than a lot of people, with just two weeks of work behind me.

“I had done some good sessions and I really wanted to go in with the same mentality as last year, I am just a kid who enjoys doing this and and I am grateful to be racing the best and wanted to see how far that dream could get me.” 

The first of many for France?

Giving a summary of how his day went across all three disciplines, Laidlow shared his pride at becoming the first Frenchman to win an IRONMAN World title, adding that the support of his countrymen on the sidelines helped him every step of the way.

“Today was a great day, I set out hard on the swim, I tried to break the pack up a little bit, then on the bike I tried to ride the wattage I thought I could on a good day, as you have to take risks. I did a similar thing in Lanzarote at the start of the year and completely blew up, but here I just held it together.

“On the run, it felt like I was only running 35km, because every time I came past these crowds the adrenaline was absolutely crazy, there has never been a French World Champion and I hope this will be the first of many.” 

Having never won a race over the iron distance prior to this, Laidlow picked the perfect moment to grab his maiden win and alongside IRONMAN 70.3 World Champion Rico Bogen, has been instrumental in ushering in the new generation of top long-course athletes in 2023.

Tomos Land
Written by
Tomos Land
Tomos Land is a triathlon & running journalist whose expertise lies in the professional world of short course & long distance triathlon, though he also boasts an extensive knowledge of ultra-running.
Discover more
Challenge Family Roth
Five things you need to know about the Challenge Roth bike course
Pelotan - Kristian Blummenfelt
Training and racing in the heat – top tips for keeping your cool when the heat is on
ROUVY routes and workouts – Best ROUVY routes to get ready for Challenge Roth
Sumarpo vanguard vs Zone 3 Vanquish X triathlon wetsuits
ZONE3 Vanquish X wetsuit vs Sumarpo Vanguard wetsuit – how do these triathlon wetsuits match up?
Rouvy indoor cycling app routes
Virtual training for real life racing – How year-round indoor cycling could benefit your race day performance
latest News
Matt Hauser Hamburg WTCS 2024 Photo credit: Tommy Zaferes / World Triathlon
Olympic Games triathlon: Hauser SMASHES 5km WTCS run best – what will be needed in Paris over 10km?
Olympic Games Triathlon Paris Test Event August 2023
Olympic Games triathlon: French sports minister and Hanquinquant swim in the Seine
Lisa Tertsch Cassandre Beaugrand Beth Potter Hamburg WTCS 2024 Photo credit: Tommy Zaferes / World Triathlon
Olympic Games triathlon: No panic from Potter after Hamburg – ‘the big one’s in two-and-a-half weeks’
Kat Matthews runs down the red carpet to second place (Photo by Nigel Roddis, Getty Images for IRONMAN)
British triathlon star celebrates MAJOR win after record breaking day at IRONMAN Vitoria-Gasteiz
Kat Matthews on the podium at IRONMAN Vitoria 2024
IRONMAN Vitoria-Gasteiz 2024 Results: Full finishing order and times as Matthews takes title
triathlon on your terms
Never miss out with our triathlon alerts & digest. Get a dose of adventure & inspiration with Boundless.
Invalid email address
The SBRX Group

Proudly elevating endurance sports through content, products & services

SBRX
RUN247
WIN A 12-MONTH ROUVY SUBSCRIPTION
WIN ONE YEAR OF RIDING ON ROUVY
Share to...